BT Pension Review – BT slashes Team Member Redundancy Terms – 27th November

27th November 2020 – New kick in the teeth for members as BT confirms its intention to slash team member redundancy terms.

This latest announcement is yet another reason why CWU members in BT need to vote ‘YES’ en-masse in the ongoing consultative ballot on industrial action.

New Redundancy Terms are to be introduced from 1st June 2021 with no meaningful talks with the CWU and indeed after a employee survey clearly indicating dissatisfaction with the proposals.

The CWU has hit back at BT’s confirmation that it will be slashing redundancy terms that will apply across much of the company from June 1 next year.

That announcement – emailed to staff yesterday along with a glossy e-booklet titled ‘Review of redundancy and paid leave terms outcome’ that is positively packed with images of beaming employees – vindicates repeated CWU warning to members that the package negotiated just two years ago as part of the 2018 Pensions Agreement is under dire threat.

Sadly the CWU’s worst fears have now been realised, with the company confirming – after a consultation that the union believes was always a foregone conclusion – that it intends to effectively halve maximum redundancy entitlements for longer-serving employees from two years’ to one year’s money. That move is highly significant at a time when – despite vehement opposition from the CWU – the company has broken with a decades old voluntary approach to dealing with staff surplus situations and is now in the process of making previously unheard of compulsory redundancies amongst team member grades in no fewer than four lines of business.

The bombshell over future severance terms comes as the CWU is mid-way through a consultative ballot on industrial action as part of its ‘Count Me In’ fightback against a belligerent new management approach that is sweeping across the business bringing multiple  threats to job security and terms & conditions in its wake. Misleadingly, yesterday’s company email to staff referred to the fact that the proposed severance terms had been discussed with the CWU and Prospect without mentioning that both unions are vehemently opposed to the move.

Let me be absolutely clear to members who may been left confused by this somewhat opaque wording. The CWU has only been nominally consulted, and BT is imposing the new severance terms knowing we have rejected them. In the company’s so  called staff ‘consultation’ no fewer than 73% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the proposed terms – yet BT is riding roughshod over those concerns and is demonstrably ignoring feedback from its own employees

Andy Kerr. CWU deputy general secretary.

One particularly pernicious element of BT new severance terms is that, after June 1 next year, anyone put ‘at risk’ of redundancy will effectively be forced into accepting misleadingly named ‘voluntary redundancy terms’ as compulsory redundancy terms will no longer be enhanced, but will be the bare statutory minimum.

By doing this BT will have the ability to state publicly that it is not making anyone compulsorily redundant. Any true notion of ‘voluntarism’ will have been trounced because anyone not accepting VR without a murmur will be hugely financially penalised.

Andy Kerr. CWU deputy general secretary.

CWU Maintain Threat of Strike After BT Confirm Redundancy Terms – Article from ISPreview. Read more »

28th September 2020 – BT Team members Redundancy Terms Under Attack

CWU LTB – 197/2020 – I am writing to you about the communication you will have received this afternoon from BT in relation to a consultation on contractual redundancy and paid leaver terms for all BT employees in the UK.
This is news which will undoubtedly worry you. It comes in the wake of other unagreed changes to future terms and conditions, compulsory redundancies in various CFUs, offshoring of work to India and the Better Workplace site closure programme which will displace thousands of jobs in the future.
BT have stated the current arrangements for redundancy are too complex, inconsistent and therefore unfair. Whilst BT may wish to harmonise the current arrangements, let’s be clear, this will mean, for many of you, BT are now making a unilateral and provocative move to reduce your contractual redundancy and paid leaver terms which were reached only two years ago and put in place following the closure of the BT Pension Scheme.  It is a cynical move to implement reductions to redundancy pay in order to make it easier for them to carry out their reorganisation of the business. 

Please note that the new terms force those who are put ‘at risk’ of redundancy into accepting voluntary redundancy terms, as the compulsory redundancy terms will no longer be enhanced. They will be the statutory minimum. By doing this BT will have the ability to state publicly that it is not making anyone compulsory redundant.

This has not been agreed with the CWU, BT are intending to impose these plans and we are rejecting the new terms being offered. 

You have exactly one month to respond to this consultation. BT need to hear the views of its employees. Therefore, your participation in this consultation is vital and we encourage you to respond by 31st October 2020.

The outcome of the consultation will be provided by BT on 1st December 2020. The formal notice to change the existing contractual redundancy and paid leaver terms will take effect no earlier than the 1st June 2021.  Hopefully by now you will have seen the CWU’s ‘Count Me In’ campaign. If you want to get more involved, or just want to pledge your allegiance then please email  Queries and help in responding to the consultation should be directed towards your branch. 

19th September 2020 – BT in talks with Union over change to Compulsory Redundancy Terms ??

Although no official news has emerged from either BT or the CWU, the i Paper reports differently…..

BT and Openreach accused of ‘provocative attack’ on staff over changes to redundancy payouts. ‘They’re trying to force a new redundancy package through, which will halve what most people get,’ one angry staffer told i.

BT and Openreach are at risk of going to war with staff over a controversial move by the telecoms giants to renegotiate redundancy terms, with some workers fearing payouts will be cut by up to 50 per cent.

Staff are angry that BT, which wholly owns Openreach and employs more than 100,000 people, has “served notice” on its current redundancy deal at a time when the FTSE 100 company is planning to uproot thousands of office-based workers. Read more »

Is this the start of Compulsory Redundancies?

Please be advised that BT Group have outlined to the members this morning, their proposal simplify the BT paid leaver and redundancy arrangements.  The CWU received formal notice on Wednesday 27th May 2020.  The matter was discussed at a special BT committee yesterday.

Please find attached our communication to our members on this issue.  We are clear that this is a further move by the company to erode terms and conditions for our members.  BT are provocatively changing the pensions review agreement which was negotiated just two years ago.

This comes in the wake of other unagreed changes by the company to alter terms and conditions in contact centres, threatened compulsory redundancies in Enterprise and the Better Workplace site closure programme.    BT state that their business will change shape over the next five years, requiring new skills for the future.  But they also make the cynical point that not everyone will want to be able to make that journey with us and they will help them move on!

Branches should be aware of the following points:

  • We will enter consultation with the company, although we will stating that BT did not need to open a full twelve-month consultation on the pensions agreement. Discussions could have taken place on the redundancy annexe separately.
  • BT state that there will be no impact on pensions. The pensions agreement impacts on everyone (BTRSS, BTPS and Hybrid).  However, without our agreement in place BT could essentially walk away from the 2018 pensions agreement following a 60 day consultation.
  • The legally binding pensions agreement provides our BT and Openreach members with a maximum of 104 weeks redundancy plus up to twelve additional weeks if you apply Pay in Lieu of Notice. Others have less generous terms.
  • The existing agreement provides our members with legally binding approach to job surpluses in order to avoid compulsory redundancy such as consideration of onshoring, reduction in contractors and agency staff, and recruitment freezes.  It also includes firm commitments on EDDI and P&PP
  • The redundancy terms also apply to some members who have joined BT on a TUPE, such as those ex-employees of EE and IT Services
  • We will insist on a new legally binding pension agreement. This should not be a problem if they are truthful that they do not want to amend pension arrangements

The formal notice to terminate the BT Pension Review Agreement 2018 will take effect no earlier than 28th May 2021 unless another date is agreed with the CWU.
This is clearly a very serious situation and we will be convening an urgent Branch briefing in the next few days.

The CWU will continue to fight for job security and will be insisting on new contractual redundancy terms and a new legally binding pension agreement.
It is clear from recent developments that BT is attacking our hard-won terms and conditions on multiple fronts.   There has never been a more important time to be in the CWU.

We will stand together to protect job security in BT.

Look out for mere in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please make sure we have your up to date contact details, including your home email address.
Branches are also requested to highlight this issue to members via their normal communication channels and via social media.

We will update our members and branches as soon as possible.